Understand That Your German Shepherd Is A Working Dog
German Shepherds were bred to work. Specifically, they were bred to herd and guard other animals. This eventually evolved into personal protection and many other applications as well.
The point in telling you this is so that you understand that work is not only a good thing for a GSD, it is essential to a GSDs well-being. A GSD without a job to do will often times become depressed, destructive, and sometimes dangerous. Your GSD wants first and foremost to work for and to please you, his owner.
You should always keep this in mind when training your German Shepherd puppy. Know that your GSD likes to learn, and the more complex the task, the more your GSD will benefit from it.
Adding Your Cue What Will You Name It
Once you have taught your dog the new behavior and they are performing it reliably, it is time to name the behavior.
To add a cue to the behavior, practice the behavior until you would bet me $100 that your dog will perform the behavior again and again. You’re looking for reliability here.
Then use your Cue just before your dog performs the behavior, wait for the behavior, mark it and reward it.
Here’s what this looks like visually
Out For A Walk: Teaching Your Puppy Not To Pull On The Leash
There are many things that tempt your dog when youre out for a walk, like new smells and other animals. Your dog will try to get where he wants to go, even if that means pulling you along with him! If he pulls on the leash and you allow him to, youve reinforced him for pulling, and your pup got what he wanted. Once youve allowed him to do this, hell do it again. AKC’s, Mary Burch, Ph.D., offers the following 2 techniques:
- When Fido starts to pull on the leash, stop in your tracks. Stand still and dont move forward with the dog.
- Wait right there where you are. Your pup will pull, but hell eventually stop.
- When he does stop pulling, praise him and move forward again.
- Anytime he starts to pull, repeat the procedure and stop where you are. It wont take him too long to figure out that youre not going anywhere as long as he pulls on the leash.
- When your pup begins to pull off in his own direction, briskly turn around and begin walking in the opposite direction. Fido will have to come along, and most likely hell hurry up to keep up with you.
- When Fido begins to follow in the direction you are walking, praise him. If youre at the beginning stages of training your pup, give him a treat. This will train your dog to watch you when youre out for a walk and not pull on the leash.
Based on information supplied by The American Kennel Club, Inc.& Mary Burch Ph.D. and Certified Animal Behaviorist
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Is A German Shepherd Rescue Right For You
Unfortunately, some German Shepherd Dogs will find themselves in a situation where they need a new home. The first reason for giving up a GSD puppy is because of a behavioral problem. Behavior problems usually occur because the owner did not research and/or clearly understand what it takes to raise a German Shepherd Dog to be a responsible community member.
The second reason for giving up dogs is due to lifestyle changes. Change is inevitable. The loss of a job, divorce, death, birth of a baby, a diagnosis of a severe medical problem, responsibility for the care of elderly parents can all lead to a person being unable to continue to care for their dog and he winds up in a shelter or German Shepherd rescue.
When you invite a rescue dog to join your family you MUST establish a good German Shepherd training routine establishing yourself as the leader. It is not necessary to do this with force but it is absolutely necessary that the owner be committed to providing appropriate attention, exercise and consistent, positive reinforcement, and realize that they may be a lot more work but the payoff can be worth it.
German Shepherd Training Tip: Start Small And Build Up
Its a smart idea to have a list of German Shepherd obedience commands that you can refer to.
Using a training command list for your German Shepherd allows you to identify the commands that you need to work on.
Place the list where you will see it often daily as a reminder to continue and work through your training.
This allows you to understand where your training is and to begin the next, more advanced steps with your dog. While you may not use all the commands or need them, its a good reference tool to have at hand.
Start with the beginning obedience items and keep adding a new command, preferably at a consistent pace. Once your GSD masters the new command, keep building on their training by adding in the next command.
When practicing your German Shepherd training commands dont rush your dog.
Your German Shepherd is one of the worlds most intelligent breeds, but they still need to have the commands broken down into their smallest steps in order to have success.
Keep your training sessions short, around 5 minutes long.
And practice multiple times per day. 3 to 4 times daily is a great start to teach your GSD their commands.
Some handlers and trainers use a different version to those on the German Shepherd training commands list to train their dogs, but you can use whatever command works best for you and your GSD. Just remember to stay consistent with your command word.
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Activate Anchors Start Recall Training
In weeks 8-11, you established anchors for some of your puppys positive behaviors. These included a clicker, whistle, clap, or saying a specific word to show your German Shepherd is doing a good job, generally followed by a well-deserved treat. Now is the time to see whether the anchors work!
You used to whistle when your GSD approached you now, you must whistle for him to start his run. You are training your 3-month-old German Shepherd puppy to associate the whistles sound as your cue for him to run towards you. This is the foundation of his recall training.
Theres no need to be disappointed if this doesnt work right away. Its a never-ending task to teach good recall. I didnt observe a significant improvement in my German Shepherds recall until she was about 12 months old. Dont try to force the dog, as this will confuse him.
If your German Shepherd isnt responding when you activate the triggers, keep re-establishing the anchors and try again after a few days.
German Shepherd Puppy Training Classes Dont Work
Taking a new GSD puppy to obedience classes before training them at home will not work. It is your responsibility to teach your dog obedience and impulse control in a boring and undistracted environment.
Taking a puppy, who hasnt received any kind of training at all, to puppy classes and expecting him to learn new concepts is like taking your 2nd grader to Chuck E. Cheese with his friends and expecting him to sit down and learn a new math concept.
It isnt fair!
It also isnt likely to be effective at all!
The excitement level pushes the puppy WAY over his threshold and he ends up frustrated and you end up angry.
Even if you can get some basic focus, this environment is not conducive to learning, much less fair.
Dont get me wrong! I am ALL ABOUT obedience classes, but I want my German Shepherd puppy training to begin at home so he will be set up for success when I add that kind of stress and distraction!
No, Obedience is NOT Enough
There are many benefits to obedience training, including building a closer, positive relationship with your dog, teaching your dog life and social skills, and helping to prevent your dog from developing unwanted behaviors. A dog that will come when called may help avoid life threatning situations, such as being hit by a car or having a bad encounter with another animal. Though obedience training has many benefits, is it enough for your German Shepherd training?
Puppies and adult dogs who have never learned it, need Impulse Control!
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How To Train Your Dog To Lay Down
The easiest way to train a dog to lay down on command is to simply wait for them to do it, say the command down, and then give a treat. Over time, he will come to associate the command with his natural actions.
You can also teach a dog to lay down on command by using the lure methodas discussed above in the sit section. Instead of holding the treat up by his forehead, youd move the treat down to the floor, right between his front paws.
The Fundamental Of Reward
What is the correlation between positive reinforcement and dog obedience training? According to canine behavioral experts, positive reinforcement is the act of giving a reward to your puppy because of his good behavior. Then the rewarded most likely will be repeated again.
Every dog training method that I know revolves around this concept. You should reward your dog when he/she does something pleasant. Then what kind of reward that you should give?
Tasty treats, compliments, hugs, and kisses are the kind of rewards that you should always ready to give.
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Socializing Your German Shepherd Puppy
Part of training your German Shepherd is making sure they are properly socialized. Socialization involves getting your dog used to all sorts of real-world scenarios so they can grow up fearless and full of confidence.
Fear-based aggression is a serious problem among GSDs. In such cases, unfamiliar or scary situations trigger aggressive behaviors.
The goal of socialization is to make your dog comfortable in all sorts of environments. So, as early as possible, give your puppy plenty of opportunities to interact with different people and animals.
Show them many different places and make sure they get used to all sorts of sights, sounds, and smells.
Socialization also involves being open to handling. For example, you should be able to fuss over their paws and ears without drama. They should also get used to being handled by other people.
This is useful when you need to have them groomed, walked, or boarded. Having a properly socialized dog will also allow you to train them in real-world settings.
From 9 Months To 24 Months
Dogs of different breeds and sizes mature at different ages, and while one year of age is commonly considered the end of puppyhood in general, a German Shepherd Dog may not reach an adult level of maturity before the age of two or three . So continuing to work on impulse control, improve obedience skills, and advance to training in more focused activities like tracking, scent work, protection work, agility, and herdingall of which are capabilities of this breedmust continue throughout this period and then be reinforced as your GSD reaches adulthood. This is also a good time to transition from puppy food to a large breed dog food.
Keep in mind that this is a breed that thrives on constant and consistent work and training, and loves to have a jobor many jobs!to do. If you can provide your GSD with outlets for their intelligence and versatility, both you and your dog will reap the rewards.
Yasmine S. Ali, MD, is a cardiologist and writer based in Tennessee, where she lives with three Canine Good Citizens, including an AKC-registered German Shepherd Dog.
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How To Train A German Shepherd
There are several types of training that every German Shepherd should go through.
These include basic socialization, basic obedience, and advanced obedience. These three training types will help your GSD be a respectful member of your family and learn his or her place in the pack quickly.
These are more advanced types of training that you can add later. These include various work-related training sessions such as guarding, sniffing, agility, and endurance.
Best German Shepherd Puppy Training Tips
The top 10 German Shepherd puppy training tips are here to help you raise a smart, confident and friendly canine friend. To train a German Shepherd puppy dog you must be consistent, kind and clear.
German Shepherd dog puppies are divinely cute and for a reason! Just like babies are cute, puppies will win your heart even after destroying your favorite pair of shoes or that expensive carpet! Dont let me alarm you thoughPositive training methods are the most practical and efficient to use. Making sure you use them will start you on the right side of training and pave the road for you to get an obedient dog.
The good news is that you do not need any special equipment to have an obedient GSD puppy. All you need is love and treats. Lets get started with the best German Shepherd puppy training tips!
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Benefits Of Obedience Training
Most German Shepherds will take to their new family quickly.
As with all dogs, they will be curious and a little apprehensive being parted from their litter and mother for the first time. But they are a breed characterized by adaptability.
Any trainer will be glad to tell you that their receptiveness and natural curiosity makes them a delight to train.
And unless you are very unlucky or, more likely, just making mistakes, they will usually take to obedience training faster than most breeds.
The advantage of an obedient German Shepherd is that they can make for an outstanding family dog.
While famed for their defensive and protective qualities, they will socialize well into a receptive family who keeps them busy and reminds them when needed exactly who the boss is.
You need to get into the habit of using vocal instruction and hand instructions early and constantly reinforce lessons throughout the day. Because a bored German Shepherd will be far more likely to become a disruptive handful.
Positive & Negative Reinforcement Is Crucial
Knowing when to praise and tell off any dog is one thing any owner should invest time in learning.
Arguably, of all the breeds out there, German Shepherds rely on this far more than most.
Reinforcement is an essential tool for communicating with your dog. The idea is that they will grow to understand when they are being rewarded and for what reason.
But how do we punish bad behavior effectively?
So how do you go about achieving this?
The Ultimate Guide To German Shepherd Obedience Training
If you’re looking for advice on German Shepherd obedience training then this is the most important page you’re ever going to read.
Because while obedience training is often thought of as a quick and easy way to get your dog to obey, it’s important to be aware of the pitfalls of getting it wrong!
Now, the problem with this particular breed is that they value hierarchy and the pecking order’ above all else. Making it potentially tricky when it comes to establishing yourself as the pack leader.
Worse still, if they are not effectively kept in check. They can be prone to becoming bad-tempered and ill-disciplined.
Especially when their training is erratic or unsatisfactory.
You need to understand that German Shepherds require much more exercise and engagement than most other dogs. And limiting this can often spell disaster if you don’t give them out outlet to release their boundless energy.
However, if you can learn to successfully manage this extra demand. They can be a delight to train and develop.
Now, before we get into the do’s and don’t of obedience training, first a quick heads up.
While obedience training comes with its fair share of benefits, the real magic happens when you learn how to teach your German Shepherd how to remain calm and in control of their emotion.
Pair this with the critical element of learning how to establish yourself as the pack leader, and you’ve got the ultimate recipe for a well, behaved obedient dog that follows your every command.
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Teaching The Stay Step
Have your pup in their collar and a 6-foot walking leash. Begin indoors in a quiet area free from distractions.
Increase the stay time your dog is in the stay position beginning with 5 seconds and working up to one minute or more. Dont rush them to hold their stay, though.
Next, work on extending the distance between you and your dog while in the stay. Take a few steps back each time you train.
Your goal is to reach the end of your leash while your pup stays in place.
This could take many sessions over weeks or months.
Enjoy The Best Traits Of The Breed
German Shepherds have plenty to offer in terms of entertainment, love, and companionship. But you wont even notice those traits if youre busy trying to deal with bad behaviors.
Training your GSD to be well-behaved is the only way you can enjoy the wonderful traits that have made them the 3rd most popular breed.
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